CORNELIS VREEDENBURGH (Woerden 1880 – Laren 1946)
Boerderij (The Farm)
signed C. Vreedenburgh in the lower right
oil on canvas
23 ¼ x 35 ¼ inches (59 x 89.5 cm.)
Kunsthandel Pieter A. Scheen B.V., The Hague, where acquired by
Private Collection, Wellesley, Massachusetts, until 2015
Pieter A. Scheen, Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750-1880, Uitgeverij Pieter A. Scheen BV, ‘s-Gravenhage, 1981, p. 630, no. 700, illustrated
Evert-Jan Pol, Twee Vrienden meet een Eigen Kijk op Kunst, on De Digitale Kunstkrant, October 25, 2016, reproduced
Woerden, Stadsmuseum, Jeugdrvienden, Leo Gestel Cornelis Vreedenburgh, July 2, 2016 – January 15, 2017
Cornelis Vreedenburgh received his initial training from his father Gerrit Vreedenburgh, Sr.. In 1902 he took lessons with Gerardus Johannes Roermeester in Noorden. Further guidance and encouragement were provided by Willem Bastiaan Tholen, O.W.A. (Albert) Roelofs, and Pieter Arntzenius. In 1903 Leo Gestel continued his instruction. From 1904-1906, he was the recipient of a Royal Grant. His work took him to the Zuiderzee coast, Kaag, Loosdrecht, Naarden, Nunspect, the south of France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Palestine. After his 1912 marriage to the painter Marie Schotel, they lived for a time in then unfashionable St. Tropez. They would later settle in Hattem and by 1918 in Laren. When Queen Wilhelmina visited Laren in 1920, Vreedenburgh acted as her guide to several artists’ studios. He was a member of the Pulchri Studio, Vereniging Sint Lucas, Gooische schildersvereniging, and Arti et Amicitae who awarded him the Willink van Collen Prize in 1904. Vreedenburgh specialized in floral still lifes, interiors, cityscapes, and landscapes, executed in watercolor and oil. His art formed part of the permanent collections of the museums of Dordrecht, Eindhoven, Enkhuizen, Laren, and Utrecht. There have been five museum retrospectives on Vreedenburgh since his death in 1946, the last mounted in 2016-17, at the Stadsmuseum, Woerden, in which this painting was exhibited.
Boerderij, Vreedenburgh presents the viewer with a Dutch pastoral dream. Bathed in sunlight, a woman sits before a brick and stone house with green shutters and door, fronted by flowers. The sky is dotted with a few puffy clouds, and judging from the shadows on the ground, it is midday. The glass-like surface of a canal, flows across the foreground, filled with impressionistic reflections cast by its surroundings. A solitary white duck floats on its waters, while two more bask along the bank. The midground is a green meadow with a windmill visible in the distance. In Holland water has always been as important as land. Wherever one travels dikes, rivers, canals, ditches, seas, beaches, lakes, and locks are found. Vreedenburgh had a deep seated passion for such scenes, whether encountered in Amsterdam, Kaag, on the lakes of Loosdrecht or the Zuiderzee coast, and it is from these subjects that his best works were fashioned.
Importantly this work was acquired from Pieter A. Scheen in The Hague by a private collector from Wellesley, Massachusetts. It was also illustrated in Scheen’s monumental dictionary, Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750-1880. Published in 1981 it details biographies of Dutch artists born between 1750-1880. The third generation of an art-dealing family, this work along with his father Pieter Arie Scheen’s 1970 two-volume work, Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750-1950, constitute the standard references for the field. In large part due to their efforts, many of these artists’ reputations remained intact, and their work granted just appreciation. The dazzling imagery of Boerderij is almost unmatchable in Vreedenburgh’s oeuvre, so it is hardly surprising that Scheen chose to publish this painting to exemplify the artist’s profound capabilities.
 Biographical information taken from Pieter A. Scheen, “Cornelis Vreedenburgh”, op. cit., p. 560; Sigrid Thomassen, Cornelis Vreedenburgh, 1880-1946: schilder van stad, land en water, Van Spijk Art Projects, Venlo, 2000, p. 93; “Cornelis Vreedenburgh” on Falcon Lexicon artists Laren-Blaricum website www.devalk.com/Kunstenaars; and “Cornelis Vreedenburgh” on rkd.nl (RKD Explore) website.
 “Cornelis Vreedenburgh” on Falcon Lexicon artists website, op. cit..
 “Pieter Arie Scheen” on Dictionary of Art Historians website dictionaryofarthistorians.org.